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Croatia

Public Consultations (HR0037)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Croatia Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Government office for cooperation with NGOs

Support Institution(s): Office for Legislation, Information Commissioner, State Public Administration School

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, E-Government, Open Regulations

IRM Review

IRM Report: Croatia Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Civic Participation , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

FURTHER IMPROVEMENT IN CONDUCTING CONSULTATIONS WITH THE PUBLIC
Implementation of the measure is under way and will continue until 21 August 2020
Leader of the measure GOVERNMENT OFFICE FOR COOPERATION WITH NGOS
Description of the measure
Which public issue does the measure address? The normative and institutional framework has been set up for the
implementation of consultations with the interested public, which is at
a high level, but it is necessary to invest more efforts to improve the
conduct of consultations through the e-Consultations system and the
use of other consultation methods. In the report for 2016, the
Information Commissioner highlighted several problems noted in the
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implementation of consultations and the solutions which would
primarily be effected by implementing training for civil servants.
In addition, given the legislative changes in the area of conducting
procedures regulated by the Act on Assessing the Effect of
Regulations (OG 44/17) and the Regulation on the Conduct of
Procedures for Assessing the Effect of Regulations (OG 52/17), it is
necessary to adapt the e-Consultations application in regard to
assessing the effects of regulations, also bearing in mind the
proposals submitted by users of the application, and with the aim of
improving it and making it easier to use.
In addition, it is also necessary to provide more information and
encourage citizens to be involved in monitoring and commenting on
documents published on e-Consultations. With the aim of increasing
the transparency of the entire process of decision-making, it is
necessary to update the database of advisory bodies regularly. This
was established as an activity in the previous Action Plan, but given
the unstable political situation, it was not updated regularly during the
previous period.
What does the measure include? The measure includes implementing the necessary improvements to
the e-Consultations system and the continuation of education on
conducting consultations in general and specifically through the eConsultations system.
In addition, the measure includes promotional activities and activities
to update the databases of advisory bodies. The overall aim of the
measure is to improve the conduct of consultations at the level of
state administration and increase the number of e-Consultations
users, that is, to raise both quality and quantity in this area.
How does the measure contribute to resolving the public
issue?
Through the implementation of the necessary improvements to the eConsultations system, and the continuation of education in conducting
consultations, both in general and specifically through the eConsultations system, the actual procedure for conducting
consultations at the level of all state administration bodies will be
improved. Through promotional activities, action will be taken to
inform and encourage citizens to be involved in greater numbers in
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consultation, while the regular updating of databases of advisory
bodies will contribute to overall transparency in the consultation
process.
Why is this measure relevant to the values of the Open
Government Partnership?
The measure is primarily relevant to participation by citizens, since its
implementation affects the quality and quantity of participation in
consultation processes with the public. At the same time, the measure
is relevant to transparency, since by implementing consultation
through the e-Consultations system and updating the databases of
advisory bodies, the transparency of the process is assured, along
with access to information on who is involved in consultation, and
how. Furthermore, the measure is relevant in terms of public
accountability, since it assures the transparency of accountability of
state administration bodies regarding comments received during
consultation.
Additional information The total cost of implementing the measure is HRK 225,000.
The measure is in accordance with the following documents:
- National Strategy for the Creation of a Stimulating
Environment for Civil Society Development for 2012 to 2016
- Action Plan for 2017 and 2018 accompanying the AntiCorruption Strategy 2015-2020
- Anti-Corruption Strategy 2015-2020
Activities Implementation start date Implementation end date
12.1. Improving the joint interactive internet system (eConsultations) for consultations with the public on
procedures for adopting acts, other regulations and
documents
Underway 31 August 2020
12.2. Conducting a programme of education on
standards for consultations with the interested public
on procedures for adopting acts, other regulations and
Underway 31 August 2020
69
documents, and workshops on using the eConsultations system
12.3. Promotional campaign for citizens on eConsultations Underway 31 December 2020
12.4. Updating databases on the composition of
working groups for drafting acts, other regulations and
documents, and other commissions and working
bodies (including those which participate in NGOs and
other representatives of the interested public) as part
of savjetovanja.gov.hr
Underway 31 August 2020
Contact information
Person responsible in the body which is Leader of the
measure
Helena Beus
Function, department Director of the Office
Email and telephone helena.beus@udruge.vlada.hr, +385 1 4599 810
Other participants
involved
State participants Office for Legislation, Information Commissioner, State Public
Administration School
70
NGOs, private sector,
multilaterals, working groups

IRM Midterm Status Summary

12. Public Consultations

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

"Measure 12. Further Improvement in Conducting Consultations with the Public" [118]

"Through the implementation of the necessary improvements to the e-Consultations system, and the continuation of education in conducting consultations, both in general and specifically through the e-Consultations system, the actual procedure for conducting consultations at the level of all state administration bodies will be improved. Through promotional activities, action will be taken to inform and encourage citizens to be involved in greater numbers in consultation, while the regular updating of databases of advisory bodies will contribute to overall transparency in the consultation process. (…) The total cost of implementing the measure is HRK 225,000."

Milestones:

12.1. Improving the joint interactive internet system (e-Consultations) for consultations with the public on procedures for adopting acts, other regulations and documents

  • System adapted to the new Act on Assessing the Effects of Regulations and other relevant amendments
  • Number of meetings held with system administrators and consultation coordinators in state administration bodies

12.2. Conducting a programme of education on standards for consultations with the interested public on procedures for adopting acts, other regulations and documents, and workshops on using the e-Consultations system

  • Annually, at least three educational seminars on consultations standards held at the state level and one at the level of units of local and regional self-government
  • At least six workshops held annually on using the e-Consultations system
  • Number of participants in seminars and workshops"

12.3. Promotional campaign for citizens on e-Consultations

  • Promotional campaign conducted by broadcasting promotional videos on social networks, internet portals, and Croatian Television
  • Number of leaflets printed and distributed

12.4. Updating databases on the composition of working groups for drafting acts, other regulations and documents, and other commissions and working bodies (including those which participate in NGOs and other representatives of the interested public) as part of savjetovanja.gov.hr

  • On the page https://savjetovanja.gov.hr/baza-savjetodavnih-tijela/1118 information on the composition of working groups is updated regularly (searches available by state body, type of advisory body, advisory body, name and surname of member, and institution/organisation represented by the member) in open format.

Start date: Underway

End date: 21 August 2020

Context and Objectives

This commitment aims to adapt the e-Consultations system [119] to the Regulatory Impact Assessment Act and Regulation [120] and other relevant legislative and strategic amendments. [121] The system allows citizens to monitor legislation drafting–from the working group, to its adoption and publication in the Official Gazette–and gives the public the opportunity to comment on the proposed text. [122] The institutional framework for public consultations is already in place. This commitment will improve existing consultations and use other consultation methods.

Within three years of launching the e-Consultation system, over 39,000 comments on draft legislation were received for 1,737 public consultations, published by 51 state and public bodies. [123] However, according to the 2016 Information Commissioner’s report, [124] several problems occur during consultations: non-compliance by state bodies in implementing e-consultations when drafting various acts (only 40% of such acts underwent consultations), e-consultation time windows being shorter than the obligatory 30 days (22 days on average), low percentage of partially or completely adopted comments (only 26% of all comments collected via e-consultations), and others. While the Office for Cooperation with NGOs established a database in April 2015 of the composition of working groups drafting acts, [125] not all public bodies publish this information, since they are not legally obliged to do so.

Some potential solutions are activities in this commitment, e.g., upgrading the online consultation system (Milestone 12.1), educating officials and civil servants on its use (12.2), conducting a public promotion campaign (12.3), and publishing information on working groups for drafting the proposed legislation (12.4). This commitment builds upon achievements of the second OGP action plan, [126] and is present in the Anti-Corruption Strategy 2015-2020, [127] and its accompanying Action Plan for 2017 and 2018. [128] The interviewed government representatives [129] noted that there might be a revision of Milestones 12.3 and 12.4 (additions like legal regulations via Government Rules of Procedure or other guidelines). A CSO representative agreed that this is important and that there may be "enough political will to do so." [130]

All milestones are specific enough to be verifiable and are clearly relevant to OGP values of access to information and civic participation. The e-consultation system, if used according to legal provisions, offers invaluable access to legislative information and civic participation opportunities, while requiring government bodies to justify their actions and respond to public criticisms. The potential impact of this commitment is minor, as it improves an existing e-consultation system, and increases the number of participants, both from the government and the public. Also, changes to the working group database will provide comprehensive access to data that is currently not easily accessible to the public.

Next steps

In line with the comments from stakeholders and based on research, the IRM researcher recommends the government ensure that public authorities fully adhere to the Code on Consultations. The government might consider sanctions for authorities who repeatedly fail to comply.

 

[118] Editorial note: The text contained herein is the abridged version of the commitment. The full text is available at: Action Plan for Implementation of the Open Government Partnership Initiative in the Republic of Croatia up to 2020 (OGP, Dec. 2018) 66−71, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Croatia_Action-Plan_2018-2020_EN.pdf. [119] "e-Savjetovanja" https://savjetovanja.gov.hr/. [120] Croatian Parliament, "Decision on Declaring the Law on Assessing the Effect of Regulations," Official Gazette NN 44/2017 (Narodne novine, 5 May 2017) https://narodne-novine.nn.hr/clanci/sluzbeni/2017_05_44_998.html; Croatian Parliament, "Regulation on the Implementation of the Regulation Impact Assessment Procedure," Official Gazette OG 52/2017 (Narodne novine, 6 Feb. 2017), https://narodne-novine.nn.hr/clanci/sluzbeni/2017_06_52_1170.html. [121] "Legislative framework for the regulatory impact assessment" (Legislative Office (Croatian), Mar. 2019), https://zakonodavstvo.gov.hr/procjena-ucinaka-propisa/zakonodavni-okvir-procjene-ucinaka-propisa/223; "Strategic framework for regulatory impact assessment" (Legislative Office (Croatian), Mar. 2019), https://zakonodavstvo.gov.hr/procjena-ucinaka-propisa/strateski-okvir-procjene-ucinaka-propisa/225. [122] "Consultations" (e-Savjetovanja, accessed Sept. 2019), https://esavjetovanja.gov.hr/ECon/Dashboard. [123] The number of registered users is over 17,000: 14,000 people, 1,072 companies, 689 associations, 384 institutions, 263 trades, and other legal entities. "Three years of e-Consulting portal" (Legislative Office (Croatian), 27 Apr. 2018), https://udruge.gov.hr/vijesti/tri-godine-portala-e-savjetovanja/4728; see annual reports on e-Consultations, "Documents" (e-Savjetovanja, accessed Sept. 2019), https://savjetovanja.gov.hr/dokumenti/10; the last available report is for 2017 (Office for Associations (Croatia), Izvješće o provedbi savjetovanja sa zainteresiranom javnošću u postupcima donošenja zakona, drugih propisa i akata u 2017. godini (Mar. 2018), https://savjetovanja.gov.hr/UserDocsImages//dokumenti//Izvje%C5%A1%C4%87e%20o%20provedbi%20savjetovanja%202017%20-%20usvojeno.pdf [124] "Analitičko izvješće o praćenju provedbe Zakona o pravu na pristup informacijama: Provedba savjetovanja s javnošću u tijelima državne uprave i uredima Vlade RH u 2016. godini" (Information Commissioner, Jan. 2017), https://www.pristupinfo.hr/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/AI-2016-5-Savjetovanja-TDU-i-Vlada-2016-1.pdf. [125] This information is occasionally updated and is in a clear, searchable format. Available at: https://savjetovanja.gov.hr/baza-savjetodavnih-tijela/1118. [126] Government of the Republic of Croatia, Action Plan for Implementation of the Open Government Partnership Initiative in the Republic of Croatia for the Period 2014 to 2016 (OGP, Jul. 2014), 27−28 (Measure 11),  https://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/Action%20Plan-OGP-8-7-2014-final-ENG.pdf. [127] Croatian Parliament, "Strategy: Corruption Against the Period from 2015 to 2020," Official Gazette OG 26/2015 (Narodne novine, 3 Sept. 2015) §5.2.1, Measure 3, https://narodne-novine.nn.hr/clanci/sluzbeni/2015_03_26_545.html [128] Action Plan for 2017 and 2018 accompanying the Anti-Corruption Strategy from 2015-2020 (Jun. 2017) 18−20 (Activities 49, 55−57), https://pravosudje.gov.hr/UserDocsImages/dokumenti/Pravo%20na%20pristup%20informacijama/Akcijski%20plan%20suzbijanja%20korupcije%202017_2018.pdf. [129] Darija Marić (Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs) reported on the status of the commitment at the OGP Council meeting (18 February 2019). The same was reiterated in an interview the IRM researcher held with Helena Beus (Head of Office), Vesna Lendić Kasalo (Deputy Head of Office), and Darija Marić (Government Advisor in the Office) on 22 Feb. 2019. [130] Jelena Tešija (GONG) interview by IRM researcher 21 Feb. 2019.

Commitments

  1. Implementing Right to Information

    HR0026, 2018, Access to Information

  2. Fiscal Transparency

    HR0027, 2018, Access to Information

  3. Political Finance Transparency

    HR0028, 2018, Capacity Building

  4. Commercial Regulations of Companies Owning Local Governments

    HR0029, 2018, Anti-Corruption

  5. Transparency in NGO Project Finance

    HR0030, 2018, Capacity Building

  6. Protection of Persons Reporting Corruption

    HR0031, 2018, Anti-Corruption

  7. Parliamentary Transparency

    HR0032, 2018, E-Government

  8. Media Regulations Framework

    HR0033, 2018, Civic Space

  9. Data Opening

    HR0034, 2018, Access to Information

  10. Raising Awareness About Open Data

    HR0035, 2018, Access to Information

  11. Central State Portal

    HR0036, 2018, E-Government

  12. Public Consultations

    HR0037, 2018, Capacity Building

  13. Implementation of Anti-Corruption Policies by NGOs

    HR0038, 2018, Anti-Corruption

  14. Local and Regional Open Government

    HR0039, 2018, Access to Information

  15. OGP Sustainability

    HR0040, 2018, Capacity Building

  16. Right to Access Information Legislative Framework

    HR0010, 2014, Access to Information

  17. Improving the Implementation of the Right of Access to Information Act

    HR0011, 2014, Access to Information

  18. Starred commitment Proactive Release of Information and Opening Data

    HR0012, 2014, Access to Information

  19. Fiscal Transparency

    HR0013, 2014, Capacity Building

  20. Starred commitment Improvements of Transparency and Efficiency in Public Administration Work

    HR0014, 2014, Capacity Building

  21. Improvement of Transparency of Election and Referendum Campaigns

    HR0015, 2014, E-Government

  22. Transparency in the Area of Youth Policy

    HR0016, 2014, E-Government

  23. Media Transparency

    HR0017, 2014, Anti-Corruption

  24. Improving Transparency of Information on Members of Parliament and Their Work

    HR0018, 2014, Anti-Corruption

  25. Improving Transparency of Data on Assets of Officials

    HR0019, 2014, Anti-Corruption

  26. Starred commitment Improving the Consultation Process with the Interested Public in Legislative Procedures

    HR0020, 2014, Capacity Building

  27. Ensuring the Sustainability of Values and Content of the OGP Initiative

    HR0021, 2014, Capacity Building

  28. Starred commitment Participation in Drafting the New Anti-Corruption Strategy

    HR0022, 2014, Anti-Corruption

  29. Regulation of Lobbying

    HR0023, 2014, Capacity Building

  30. Improving Efficiency of the Ministry of Interior's Complaints Commission

    HR0024, 2014, Justice

  31. Promoting Civil Participation in the Work of Civil Society Organizations

    HR0025, 2014, Civic Space

  32. Improving the Content and Transparency of Budgetary Documents: Publish and Update the State Budget Proposal

    HR0001, 2012, Fiscal Openness

  33. Improving Transparency of Business Activity of the Companies of Special State Interest

    HR0002, 2012, Private Sector

  34. Making the Contents of All Budgetary Documents Understandable and Accessible to Citizens

    HR0003, 2012, Fiscal Openness

  35. Improving Accessibility of Local Budget Contents to the Citizens and the Public: Give Recommendations to Local Units to Publish Budget Documents

    HR0004, 2012, Fiscal Openness

  36. Starred commitment Improving the Legislative Framework for Exercising the Right of Access to Information: Amend the Act on the Right of Access to Information

    HR0005, 2012, Access to Information

  37. Starred commitment Improving Access to Information on Expending Public Resources and Contents of Relevant Registers: Implementation of Acts on Political Activity and Campaign Financing

    HR0006, 2012, Anti-Corruption

  38. Ensuring Transparent Work of Public Authority Bodies in the Service of Exercising Citizen Rights: Enhancement of Web Portal with Info on Exercising Rights

    HR0007, 2012, E-Government

  39. Starred commitment Setting up a System of Participatory Drafting and Monitoring of State and Local Budget Implementation: Public Discussions on Budget Allocation

    HR0008, 2012, Fiscal Openness

  40. Starred commitment Improving the Practice of Consulting the Interested Public in Procedures of Adopting New Laws: Amend Procedural Rules

    HR0009, 2012, E-Government

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